Update of the situation

March 17, 2020 

This is the first of a series of communiques that you will receive pertaining to:

-All officers are emergency disaster responders
-Officers/employees working off-site
-Employee holiday/sick time benefits
-Thrift store operations

During these days, all Salvation Army officers are emergency disaster services responders. While our worship gatherings have moved to the digital realm for the immediate future, it is important that we stay connected with our faith community and the community-at-large, offering hope, encouragement and practical support as required. Below are a few guiding principles for your review and use:

Find new ways to engage with your community

Reach out to your local health unit and offer assistance such as use of buildings for test sites, support of future vaccination clinics, etc.

Consider food delivery to vulnerable populations (i.e. seniors).

Make emotional and spiritual care a priority

These are stressful times for many. Be a listening ear for those who need someone to talk to. Check in with health practitioners and offer support.
Make regular contact with members of your congregation/ministry unit, staff, volunteers and other stakeholders.

Be available

Ensure local health and emergency management authorities know how to contact The Salvation Army at all times.
Develop a list of Salvationists and volunteers who are available to assist.
Please do not be limited to these guidelines. However, we believe these will allow the Army to remain true to our mission of preaching the love of Jesus Christ, meeting human needs and being a transforming influence in the communities of our world.

Officers/employees working off-site (two-week time limit to be reassessed)

You will know that government and public health officials across Canada and throughout every provincial jurisdiction have asked that, where possible, Canadians practise “social isolation” in the workplace and community setting and The Salvation Army quickly responded by closing our worship gatherings.

At a meeting of the COVID-19 Taskforce this morning, it was decided that, where possible, territorial headquarters (THQ) and divisional headquarters (DHQ) employees will be allowed to work from home, thus supporting the request of the federal and provincial governments across the territory to “socially isolate.” It is important to understand that we are NOT closing our doors; we are simply altering the way we do business for the foreseeable future. THQ and DHQs will remain open with essential staff on-site to support the work of our organization. THQ department heads are requested to review their essential services staffing plan with their respective cabinet secretary, and divisional leaders and area commanders are to work with local ministry units regarding employees working from home and also essential service staffing requirements and plans for social service ministry units.

We understand that not every employee is able to work from home and, indeed, many dedicated Salvation Army employees are engaged in front-line essential service ministry, supporting the vulnerable in communities across Canada and Bermuda. We value and appreciate the dedication of our front-line workers and we need to support, encourage and thank them for their outstanding extra-mile efforts during these days.

Finally, we would remind all officers and employees that if they have been travelling outside the country, they are required to self-isolate for 14 days. There is no exception to this public health requirement. Further, we would remind all Salvation Army workers that if they are ill, they are not to come to work, and if they have been advised by medical professionals to self-isolate, they are to adhere to the protocols in place. THQ human resources will be sending additional information out tomorrow.

Corps thrift store operations (two-week time limit to be reassessed)

It has been decided that, effective today, ALL thrift stores across the territory, including National Recycling Operations (NRO) stores, will close to the public for shopping. Effective immediately our stores will no longer be accepting donations. This is for the health and safety of our staff and complying with recommendations from health officials. The only caveat is that thrift stores need to be available to support crisis needs of community and family services operations as those some of the services are provided on the premises of the stores. We would ask divisional leaders and area commanders to work with your local ministry units in support of this directive. We trust this decision brings a measure of comfort to those working at the local level while continuing to meet emergency needs in communities.

In closing, please disseminate this information as appropriate and thank you for your continued partnership in ministry.

March 16, 2020

Sunday Worship Cancelled Until End of April
All Sunday worship services across the territory will be cancelled until April 30, 2020. That said, it’s important to note that while formal worship gatherings are cancelled due to directives from public health agencies, we encourage creative alternatives to meeting the spiritual needs of our people and community. Additional resources are going to be made available later this week.

Voit/See Territorial Youth Congress Postponed until 2021
The health and safety of young people is priority #1 for The Salvation Army in ministry, thus the decision has been made to postpone VOIT/SEE scheduled for May 22-24, 2020 in Montreal, due to the ongoing concerns surrounding the COVID-19 virus. We anticipate rescheduling the event for Spring 2021 and further information will be shared in the coming weeks/months.

We realize that this will come as a great disappointment, but we will be working hard in the months ahead to make the most of time made available to us by the postponing, to make VOIT/SEE event better.

Registration refunds can be processed by request to canbda_youth@can.salvationarmy.org. Refunds to individuals will be made to the credit card used for payment. Any group refunds will be processed through your corps office.

March 14, 2020

As we continue to monitor developments and note how quickly things are changing regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, we are providing this communication as an update to our message of yesterday With new directives being provided by Ministries of Health, Public Health and local municipalities, it has been decided that all worship services for tomorrow, Sunday, March 15, are to be cancelled. This is deemed to be a necessary response to the ongoing developments with a confidence that it is the right and caring decision to make at this time. Until further notice, there will be no mass held on Salvation Army premises. This decision is necessary in order to avoid as much as possible gatherings of people. Our social services that are supporting others in our communities will continue, ensuring that the utmost care is taken and that they are consistent with the Public Health directives.
May God bless his Salvation Army around the globe in these days, that we might fulfill his purpose to bring blessing to others, Giving Hope Today, when it is needed most.

March 13, 2020

Thank you for all you are doing to support the mission and ministry of The Salvation Army across the territory during these days.

The COVID-19 situation continues to change swiftly, thus the reason for Communique #2 in rapid follow up to yesterdays.

Group Gatherings
Public health officials are now referring to “social isolation” as an important way to combat and manage the transmission of the virus.

All Sunday worship services across the territory will be cancelled until April 30, 2020. That said, it’s important to note that while formal worship gatherings are cancelled due to directives from public health agencies, we encourage creative alternatives to meet the spiritual needs of our people and communities. Additional resources are going to be made available later this week.

Daycare, and After-School Programs
These can proceed as long as all necessary precautions can be met as per the Public Health Guidance. Document at this link
In the event there are concerns, the decision to cancel these programs is left to the discretion of the divisional commander.

In those areas where schools have been closed, we would advise that a local evaluation should be made of the situation including with public health officials in the affected community. It may be best to close these programs, and this is left to the discretion of the divisional commander.

As different parts of the territory are seeing varying degrees of engagement relative to the virus, it is also recommended that divisions continue to work with ministry units and the local health authority in the decision-making process.

Travel
All domestic and U.S. business travel, including U.S. conference attendance is suspended effective immediately and until April 30. Any inquiries regarding travel should be addressed to the Chief Secretary, Colonel Edward Hill.

If you or your immediate family members return to Canada (from out of country), please call your local Public Health agency and your human resources department prior to returning to work as public health may have specific instructions and/or requirements prior to returning to work.

Employee Sick Time/Childcare Required
THQ Human Resources is working with THQ Legal to develop a process relative to sick time for employees and those who may be required to support family members in self-isolation/quarantine. We are sensitive to this reality and will follow up with further information early next week.

The Province of Quebec has closed all elementary and high schools for 2 weeks effective today, a decision that impacts many of our employees. As a result, Salvation Army team members will be supported during this extraordinary situation and employees with accommodation requests are advised to speak with their manager about options available (e.g. working from home, adjusted start- and end-times to the work day).

We are aware of the stress and anxiety that COVID-19 is creating. As we seek to live out our values, we are reminded that we can continue to provide hope to our friends, family and neighbours during these times through simple acts of kindness – a phone call or email. For those serving in our corps and social services facilities, we implore you to take great care as you serve. Thank you for your extraordinary service to suffering humanity during these days.

Kindly share this communication to all officers, employees, family, friends and other stakeholders within your jurisdiction as you deem best.

March 12, 2020

COVID-19 (coronavirus) has developed quickly, and The Salvation Army is committed to taking preventative measures to protect the safety of the 1.6 million people we serve each year as well as our officers, employees and volunteers. Their well-being is our top priority.

As the situation evolves, we continue to monitor and promote the Public Health Agency of Canada’s instructions in order to keep our communities healthy.

WHAT ARE WE DOING?

We have established a Territorial Pandemic Incident Command Team who meet regularly to review information and share updates and resources.

TRAVEL

All domestic and international travel is suspended effective to April 30. This travel policy will be monitored and evaluated as the outbreak evolves.

GATHERINGS AND EVENTS

Public health officials are now referring to “social isolation” as an important way to combat and manage the transmission of the virus. To this end we have cancelled social events, group activities and worship services.

No new conferences or events will be planned until the outbreak has subsided.

SOCIAL SERVICES INSTITUTIONS

Our leadership teams are working directly with local health authorities and following their recommended suggestions relative to proactively managing our response.

As the situation evolves, we continue to monitor and promote the Public Health Agency of Canada’s instructions in order to keep our communities healthy. This includes:

  • practising good hygiene by washing hands often (for at least 20 seconds with soap)
  • avoiding touching the face with hands
  • proper sneezing/coughing technique (into elbow)
  • encouraging those with possible symptoms or exposure to stay home and reduce the risk of possible transmission

Corps ministry

Hosting & Greeting

We recommend that you greet one another with smiles and waves instead of handshakes.

Doors & Surfaces

Our facilities staff is committed to cleaning all door handles and surfaces that are touched on Sundays and throughout the week on a regular basis.

Offering

We recommend no longer passing the offering plate around during the service, but have offering boxes available as you exit the sanctuary.

The Salvation Army will continue to move forward in ways that are wise and proactive. Meanwhile, we continue to pray for our world and our communities—particularly for those directly impacted by the virus.